bucket list, chronic pain, depression, DPchallenge, Exercise, Fatigue, foggy brain, Gratitude, medication side effects, meditation, Motivation, Pacing

Mind The Gap

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It has been an extremely quiet household this week, after a very busy visit from my 19 year old niece last weekend. I pretty much slept for three days straight following her visit as I allowed my broken body to dictate what it needed. I am becoming more mindful of the gap between what I ‘want’ to do and what I am ‘capable’ of doing as a result of living with Chronic Pain due to significant pelvic nerve damage. I am learning to listen to my body rather than my brain, as my brain always tends to keep pushing my body to its limits, even if in pain, striving for an appearance of perfection. There has been a strong history of my mind and body refusing to cooperate or collaborate as one, with more of a tug-of-war between the two.

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I have slowly learnt, following a serious car accident and then a chronic illness, that there is a definitive gap between what my mind and body will succumb too and I have had to make the required changes to accommodate more of a balanced existence. There appears to be a a major gap between what my mind and my body feel is a appropriate level of activity. My mind wants to do more then my body will permit, which if pushed requires additional medication. As a result, my mind is undoubtedly effected by numerous pain medications, which if not consumed results in out of control, chronic pain. I have been researching neuro-plasticity just for personal interest and recently read an extremely interesting article posted by Chronic Pain Australia on Facebook, which discusses the link between chronic pain, the mind and the body. This article is a great read that goes into detail between the body and mind pain connection and somewhat backs up my personal theory of fighting the brain messages of pain. There have been countless biographies written about people who have fought back from horrific injuries to go on and win marathons, and have other life successes. The question now in many pain investigations and research is “can the brain messages be ‘re-wired/re-trained’ to alter the message of existing pain?” With chronic pain numbers growing world wide, this path of research is displaying a growing trend and hopefully will continue into the future.

I still have much to learn in order to reduce the gap between mind and body so that the pain signals become more balanced. I am involved in meditation classes and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and if positive thinking can heal hopefully I can somehow rewire my pain receptors. Your thoughts, research and theories regarding the gap between brain messages and bodily responses to pain would be sincerely appreciated by myself and many others I am sure, both professionally and from personal perspectives. Please feel free to comment and add your own personal stories, research findings or related topics that may be of interest.

Health & Happiness.

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Images from – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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10 thoughts on “Mind The Gap”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I can relate to each word and the challenge posed between finding that balance between mind and body. I can specifically remember a time when I gently pushed my body beyond its normal limits, and I stress the word gently, and the coordination that it took to complete this stretch. It was my mind more so than my body that was resisting the stretch. This is totally understandable as this stretch had been registered as causing pain previously. As I slowly pushed physically it was the such a memorable moment as I felt the muscles begin to feel less contracted. Again it’s finding that balance and of course taking into consideration the actual cause of the pain.

  2. Listening to your body can be a trip! I started young, luckily. My body’s always been very sensitive to medicine (which made a chronic pain diagnosis very discouraging). My mom would offer me say, motrin, and I could feel my chest and stomach tighten up. It’s just a little over the counter drug, but I knew that’s not what I needed and that it’d make things worse. It took her a lot longer to learn to listen to my body than it took me – I had to throw up a lot of motrin before I got tylenol, a drug that for some reason has always been gentler on my stomach.

    I’m very good at understanding what my body needs. We just don’t always agree. 😉 Our latest battle has been sleep – it needs a lot of sleep, and I have a lot to do. Still working on a balance there.

      1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! This is my first nomination for any blogging award! 😀 I can’t wait to fill out the quiz and repost! Thank you again! ❤

  3. I too struggle with this. My doctor says “don’t chase the pain, keep it under control.” Then just when I’m doing good, I go on a housecleaning tear (NOTHING compared to my former life – weightlifting, yoga, aerobics, and working 9 hrs a day as an atty). For housecleaning, I PAY. I go into spasms, I become exhausted, and I cannot think. I have no meds to help me when I do this to myself, which could be anytime, geez. I am having SUCH a hard time with it. It is a huge challenge to separate that from the sense of self worth. I always felt I was defined by what I did, how I did it, and now my flower gardens are filled with dirt and weeds. I am a blessed mother and wife, and still have a law practice here in the southwestern US. I am NOT defined by whether I can plant my flowergarden, but it feels hard. What have some of you done with that? I’ve done counseling. Over and over again! 🙂 Thanks for your honesty and openness that helps us, Narelle.

    1. It definitely sounds as if we are born from the same mould. I’m just resting after 40 mins of housework & then it’s up showering, rest, dress, etc. 🙂 I’m viewing it as my new form of ‘work & study’ ie. how much can I achieve before I go too far. If I end up in hospital with uncontrollable spasms & pain the first question asked is “what have you been doing?” but my time between visits is become fewer so I’m definitely on the right tack between getting the balance right. Please keep in touch it sounds as if we certainly have much in common.
      Health & happiness, Narelle

  4. Learning to both listen to my body and act accordingly is the hardest thing for me about chronic pain & illness. I keep feeling like if I just try a little bit harder…but no. My biggest hurdle in physical therapy was learning to read my body’s signals and what to do about the different pain indicators. My PT and pain management encouraged me to do some very light desensitization methods to “re-teach” my neural pathways that some things that used to hurt don’t anymore either due to healing or due to further nerve damage.
    Visualizing my pain as a ball or an energy cloud and then meditating on it slowly moving out of body (for me my nerve damage is my lower right abdomen so I visualize it going out my right hip) actually helped a lot more than I thought it would.
    Best of luck with this endevour.

    1. Sorry about the delay in replying, my sleep patterns have been all over the place this past week as has my foggy brain 🙂 Thank you for your words of wisdom I agreed with every letter of every word that you wrote and it reinforces that there are ‘kindred spirits’ online just waiting to meet.
      Health & Happiness, Narelle

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